How to Prevent Carpet Mold and Mildew Growth

How to Prevent Carpet Mold and Mildew Growth

Follow these tips to prevent mold in your rugs, carpets, or anywhere else in your home.



Power outages, spring flooding, leaking pipes — these are just a few of the unfortunate mishaps that can take a toll on a home. The water damage and excessive heat and humidity that can often accompany these disasters creates the perfect environment for mold and mildew to grow. 

Rugs and carpets are especially susceptible to mold and mildew due to their absorbent materials. If your home has experienced water damage or extreme heat recently, take these steps to stop mold and mildew growth before it starts.

Clean spills and address water damage immediately

Mold is much easier to prevent than it is to remove when it’s started to grow and spread. Mold begins as microscopic spores in the air. These spores are nearly everywhere and will be extremely difficult to keep out of your home. Luckily, they only develop into harmful mold when they come into contact with humidity and moisture.

Therefore, the single most important thing you can do to keep mold out of your home is to deprive it of places to grow. Whether you’ve just spilled a glass of water on your kitchen counter or a broken pipe somewhere in the walls is leaking, prioritize cleaning up and drying the area as quickly as possible. 

Mold spores take about 24 to 48 hours to develop into mold after landing on moisture. If you can successfully find, clean up, and dry a wet area before then, you can prevent mold from growing in your home. 

If you have consistent mold problems in your home, they are often a sign of related water damage. Carefully inspect the area where you’re having mold problems for draining problems or leaks from nearby pipes, appliances, or cracks in your ceiling, walls, or flooring. 

Control your home’s humidity

Unfortunately, sources of humidity are not always as straightforward to find as a spilled cup of water or a broken pipe. For example, unfinished basements, attics, and other dark, humid parts of your home could naturally accumulate enough moisture in their humid air to produce mold growth conditions.

Mold thrives in dark, still, and damp areas where the air’s relative (not absolute) humidity is higher than 70 percent. This humidity could come from condensation on windows or pipes, water vapor from heating and cooling appliances, drafts from uninsulated walling and flooring, or even from poorly ventilated stagnant air. For this reason, the most common places for mold to grow in homes are basements, attics, showers, bathtubs, and kitchen cabinets.

You can prevent mold from growing in these at-risk areas by carefully monitoring their relative humidity levels. Start by trying to find sources of humidity, such as condensation or air drafts, and sealing them off so they can’t produce moisture in your home. You can also invest in a dehumidifier for particularly at-risk locations, but addressing the sources of humidity will always be the more effective long-term solution.

Control your home’s temperature

Although studies have shown that moisture control is ultimately more important than temperature control for preventing mold growth, practicing both is the best way to keep mold from growing near you. 

This is because of how relative humidity works: at room temperatures of around 69 degrees Fahrenheit, keeping your home’s relative humidity below 70% will effectively prevent conventional mold growth. If parts of your home are warmer than 69 degrees, however, then the air could contain enough moisture to foster mold growth even if its relative humidity appears to be lower than 70 percent.

For this reason, you should always strive to keep the rooms of your home at a uniform temperature beneath around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. This will allow you to properly monitor your home’s relative humidity and keep it below the threshold where mold can begin to grow.

Generate air flow through ventilation

One of the most common reasons why at-risk areas of homes grow humid is they lack proper air flow. The longer stagnant air sits in a single place, the more moisture it tends to absorb from its surroundings, raising the relative humidity. 

You can prevent this by making sure fresh air continuously circulates through your home. First and foremost, make sure all of your home’s vents are open and unblocked if your home has an HVAC system. Replace your vent’s air filter once every three to six months as needed. If parts of your home lack any ventilation, get some installed. 

Next, keep all doors open whenever possible so air can circulate from room to room. Let in fresh air from windows whenever possible, and help it circulate through your home by turning fans on. Make sure you turn on ventilation fans whenever you cook or bathe. If ventilation continues to be a major problem, have your HVAC system professionally inspected. 

Let in sunlight and fresh air

Mold thrives in dark and damp areas, making sunlight and fresh air great ways to prevent it. Whenever possible, let sunlight and fresh air into your home by opening your drapes and windows and turning on your fans.

If there are parts of your home that naturally don’t get much sunlight, such as your attic or basement, make especially sure these places are ventilated and periodically check their relative humidity levels. If you keep rugs in these areas, try periodically taking them outside to clean them and let them hang until they’re completely dry. If the problem continues, try replacing the rug with a more mold-resistant synthetic fiber rug. Likewise, if you want to keep a rug outdoors for any extended period, synthetic rugs make a better choice than organic fibers, because they’re more water and mold-resistant.

Use carpet and rug padding

Even after taking the precautions above, natural fiber rugs and carpets might be more susceptible to mold than you’d like simply because they absorb moisture so readily. To keep unseen moisture from getting onto your rug or carpet, you could invest in padding

Placing waterproof padding beneath your carpet or rug will keep water from leaking into it from below, so the only water you’ll have to worry about will be what you can see immediately.

If you’re looking for a rug that’s naturally mold-resistant, check out our line of indoor/outdoor rugs woven with synthetic fibers that look and feel like the real thing. 


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